Qin Ce was in charge of defense, during his amnesia, the Queen Mother created a series of loopholes in security. When he came back, he called in his armies to gather in the imperial city, recapturing the palace was only a matter of time. But in order to ensure the safety of the little prince, Qin Ce couldn’t make too much noise. So everything needed to be secretly carried out, the soldiers couldn’t shed any blood.
Finally, the subordinates he’d sent in came back to the barracks, they’d captured the Queen Mother’s son.
Through strict interrogation and torture, they compiled a list of traitors, then prepared to raid the imperial city to clean up the palace. The generals were gathered to discuss around the table when someone suddenly came in and reported, “General Yu, someone came to the camp to see you.”
General Yu was Qin Ce’s right-hand man, and also the General Ding Yuan who was ordered to protect Zhu’s home. When Yu saw the Commander’s frown, he didn’t dare to slack, he immediately waved, “I have no time to see them, now is an important time, the small prince needs to be rescued! Tell them to leave!”
The solider hesitated for a moment, then said, “The other claims to be Qing Min County’s Zhu Ziyu, he came to send the General some fodder.”
The soldiers couldn’t move without horses, fodder was an important supply to the army. The surrounding generals brightened, they looked toward their commander.
Why did Ziyu specially come to send Yucheng fodder? Qin Ce’s thick eyebrows wrinkled, he waved his hand, “Bring him in. Yucheng stay, the rest of you leave.”
The generals bowed and retreated.
“What’s your relationship with Ziyu?”
The tone of the Commander sounded very gloomy. Yucheng’s heart froze, he quickly replied, “I met Zhu Gongzi when you ordered me to guard Zhu home, Zhu Gongzi is probably grateful for this.”
Obviously, he was the one who’d issued the command, but the benefits were given to someone else. Qin Ce’s heart was very jealous, but he didn’t want to expose his identity at this time, so he had to avoid a scene, “Talk to him, I can’t see him right now.”
Yucheng was confused, but he also didn’t want to push it, he went to Zhu Gongzi.
When he opened the curtain, he was met with the sight of the young man wearing feather light clothing, his bright red lips naturally upturned, his peach blossom eyes glittering. They were crystal clear, and involuntarily sucked in anyone who looked at him.
He was comparable to the sun, it was hard not to notice his presence.
Yucheng froze, he started searching the other man’s body for a Zhusha Zhi. A Ger’s Zhusha Zhi was generally in a very visible location, either on their wrist, earlobes or forehead. The redder the color, the higher the fertility. Ger with a bright red Zhusha Zhi in the middle of their forehead were especially priceless, they were looked upon as angels and everyone wanted to meet one.
Unfortunately, Yucheng couldn’t find a Zhusha Zhi on Ziyu and had to regretfully admit that Zhu Gongzi was a man. To look like this yet be a man, such a waste of beauty!
His heart was in chaos, but his face didn’t show it, he straightforwardly asked, “Zhu Gongzi said he was sending us fodder, what can we do to repay you?” Everyone knew that there was no such thing as a free lunch.
Zhou Yun Sheng didn’t beat around the bush, “I can’t conceal it, huh? I really need to beg something from you. Three years ago, my parents met some bandits in the Luo Shui area and were both killed. I’ll be bold, Luo Shui is in your jurisdiction. I want to send two hundred thousand parcels of food to the army troops, in exchange for you guys getting rid of the bandits in that area.”
Although Zhu Ziyu’s only wish was to sustain Zhu Jia, Zhou Yun Sheng was never one to do only the minimum. Since he was taking over someone else’s life, he must be perfect.
Of course, he also wanted to explore this General Ding Yuan’s true identity. Yucheng was 6ft with a calm temperament, and he also exuded a familiar smell of tobacco. He wanted to find out if he was his long lost love.
If it was a normal day, Yucheng naturally wouldn’t reject him, but now the situation was very chaotic, he was burdened with assignments so he could only apologize, “I’m afraid I cannot agree to Zhu Gongzi’s request at this time. Honestly, I have a lot of urgent matters to take care of, if I had more spare time …”
Zhou Yun Sheng knew that they were preparing to deal with the Queen Mother, he shook his head and laughed, “It’s okay General, this thing can wait. I won’t take up any more of your time. You can keep the food, treat it as a thank you for guarding Zhu Jia. I have not thanked you for that yet.”
He was already dazzling when he was expressionless, the laugh made him look more beautiful, it was dizzying. Yucheng couldn’t handle it, he quickly waved and said “It was nothing.”
Zhou Yun Sheng couldn’t linger in the military camp for too long, he waved goodbye and turned to leave, then he suddenly turned back and asked, “General, do you like smoking?”
“Yes, Zhu Gongzi could tell? Do you hate the smell?” Yucheng straightened his clothes, embarrassed.
“No, it’s a very good smell.” Zhou Yun Sheng slightly smiled, then walked away. He’d found the smell very repugnant before, but after so many years, he’d become accustomed to it. That smell now made him feel very comfortable.
Yucheng’s cheeks reddened, he turned around to find the Commander standing behind him, his face dark and his eyes cold.
“You’re not allowed to smoke anymore. Go back and throw away your pipe.”
“It’s not good for your health, the cold weather makes you cough.”
“But Commander, you’re more addicted to smoking than I am.”
“I quit after I lost my memory.” But now, it was time to start up the habit again.
Thinking of this, Qin Ce lifted his arm and sniffed it, but he only smelled fresh soap, no smoke flavor. He felt even more depressed.
One night, thousands of soldiers suddenly surrounded the Imperial Palace, inside and outside. The Queen Mother and 137 people were captured. The Queen Mother tried to take the small prince hostage, but the little prince had disappeared. Her son also appeared in the junction of the Palace, he was tightly held by two soldiers, a steel knife on his neck.
The Queen Mother couldn’t fight back, she was swiftly captured.
The next morning, the death bell resounded inside and outside the imperial city. The fourth-generation emperor had died, and the throne was passed to the five year old little prince. He was supported and assisted by the military commander Qin Ce, Zuo minister Yang Rong and You Minister Huang Bingwen Gu Ying.
The whole nation mourned for 3 months, after 3 months the small prince ascended the throne, removed the old forms of taxation, extended mercy, and granted amnesty. Then, a torrential rain suddenly poured over the land, bringing salvation to the people of Chu Yunguo. The people bowed towards the direction of the palace, a rumor spread that the little emperor was the true Dragon Emperor.
The bureau finally calmed down, and Qin Ce, whose power had increased once again, led fifty thousand soldiers to Lou Shui to destroy the bandits while his cronies were sent to Zhang Jia to deliver gifts.
Naturally, the bags of grain and silver tickets were not all he would repay for them saving his life. This time, he added a lot of gold and silver jewelry and several mansion deeds, and sent them in a high-profile way to Zhang Jia’s door. He also sent a well-known scholar to Zhang Jiarui to be his tutor.
The matter of the Zhang family saving a Hou family member spread in the countryside. Those who used to bully their family were all retaliated on by Zhang Shulin and Zhang Jiarui. A month later, Zhang Jiarui went to Beijing to participate in autumn examinations. He won sixth place with good results, followed by the civil service examinations, and so on.
In the final imperial examinations, the little emperor heard of Zhang Jia’s grace to Shen Wei Hou Shizi, and handpicked Zhang Jiarui for third place. This could be described as ‘My high horse proudly gallops with the gentle breeze of Spring. In one day I see all Chang’an flow’rs that make my heart sing!’
The Qing Min County magistrate was promoted to the state of Zhao Zhou, and as Zhang Jiarui was the most logical person to get his position, he became the new County magistrate.
Zhang Jiarui was very dissatisfied with this position, he felt that he deserved a position in the Imperial Academy. He visited Shen Wei Hou house several times to clear the relationship, but he was not even allowed to pass through the front door. He resentfully took the position.
But Zhang Shulin was very happy about this. Since his brother became the Qing Min County magistrate, he became unrestrained, he was no longer afraid to offend the locals.
He planned to open a wine shop and specialize in brewing wine. Because Qing Min County had no large-scale cultivation of grapes, the out of County acquisition costs would be high, it was more cost efficient to buy a hill and plant his own field. He searched in the vicinity of Qing Min County for a few days, and finally found a hill he fancied. He learned that the hill belonged to Zhu Jia and sent him a letter.
“I won’t sell.” Zhou Yun Sheng neatly refused.
Zhang Shulin still didn’t give up, he added 10% to the offer and sent another letter.
“I said that I wouldn’t sell.” Zhou Yun Sheng would not cheapen himself for Zhang Jia.
Zhang Shulin couldn’t persuade him so he had to continue looking for more hills. But the other hills’ soil and water conditions were not as good as Zhu’s, they wouldn’t grow high-quality grapes. He was a Virgo, very picky, so this situation really worried him.
“He refused to sell?” Zhang Jiarui heard the matter and sneered, “Then I’ll personally go talk to him.”
This was the so-called 30 years east, 30 years west, he was now the Qing Min County magistrate, who dared to not give him face? Zhu Ziyu rejected his brother’s request several times, this was simply blatantly provoking him.
The County official personally came for this matter, Zhou Yun Sheng was getting tired of this. He invited Zhang Jiarui in.
The two sat down to business, there were no pleasantries.
“Zhu Gongzi, my brother wants that hill, give me a price.”
“Do you have a price?” Zhou Yun Sheng sipped his cup of tea.
“How about this number?” Zhang Jiarui played ball.
Zhou Yun Sheng immediately laughed, “I bought that hill for eight hundred and twenty and you offer me three hundred and twenty. Zhang Official, are we doing business or is this a robbery?”
Zhang Jiarui squinted, “You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours. We can make this a mutually beneficial deal, no one has to suffer. Zhu Gongzi is extremely smart, you presumably know the right choice to make.”
There was a proverb about how fighting with an official was like banging your head against a wall. A small landlord like Zhu Ziyu had no chance against a County magistrate. But Zhou Yun Sheng was very stubborn, the more you pushed him, the more he rebounded. He gave Zhang Jiarui a cold smile, “I have nothing to ask from you, your benefits don’t interest me. I won’t sell this hill. Enjoy the rest of your day, Zhang Official.” The words were a clear refusal.
Zhang Jiarui didn’t expect him to reject again, his face changed from red to white, then white to green. He gritted out through his teeth, “Zhu Gongzi, I hope you don’t regret this decision later.”
“What, you’re still here? You really think you can suppress the Emperor’s chosen benevolent house. Remember, your power exists as long as your name is clean. Don’t think that your post is unshakable.” Zhou Yun Sheng pointed to the royal gold plaque enshrined behind him. It read ‘ Benevolent House’. It was awarded to Zhu Jia for their help and care to the villagers. With this plaque, people who wanted to attack Zhu Jia must first weigh the consequences.
Zhang Jiarui’s anger was choked back by his remark, he strode out from the house with a bruised ego.
‘My high horse proudly gallops with the gentle breeze of Spring. In one day I see all Chang’an flow’rs that make my heart sing!’ – Excerpt from poem called ‘After Passing the Imperial Examinations’ by Meng Jiao. It means that when something good happens, you easily forget all the troubles from before. Translation stolen here.
30 years east, 30 years west- Full idiom: Thirty years on the east side of the river, thirty years on the west side of the river. Meaning: Prosperity and decline never last, Everything in life is cyclical, etc.
Played ball – It actually said he extended ‘A slap’. This is an Idiom. The closet English idiom seems to be ‘It takes two to tango.” So he joined in on the fight.